Anwar admits no accord over Pajudin’s appointment

(The Malaysian Insider) – Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim admitted today that there had been no consensus from the PKR leadership over the appointment of Pajudin Nordin as the Sabah PKR chief earlier last month.

The PKR de facto leader also claimed that it was party president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail who had mooted Pajudin’s name as a “test suggestion” in an attempt to solve the state chapter’s ongoing leadership crisis.

“Actually, there was no consensus on the candidate so the president agreed to suggest Pajudin for the post.

“But when the suggestion was discussed at state level, there was an appeal by three quarters of the state’s divisions that the president takes over instead as they did not agree with Pajudin’s appointment,” he told reporters after chairing the Pakatan Rakyat leadership council meeting at the DAP headquarters here this evening.

Dr Wan Azizah was not present at the press conference today.

Late last month, 18 of the state’s 25 division leaders demanded the intervention of the central leadership in reconsidering Pajudin’s appointment.

Today, Anwar also sidestepped questions on accusations from state leaders that both he and deputy president Azmin Ali have been bulldozing decisions in Sabah PKR without consulting state leaders.

“You sound surprised. No, you are not? Then that is the answer,” he told the reporter who posed the question.

He insisted that the party had decided to form a leadership council to helm Sabah PKR as it wanted to listen to the voice of the majority.

“So the president went yesterday to Sabah to form the leadership council. Because of that, Pajudin decided to defect to Umno.

“But it was not our decision… it was the decision of three quarters of the state’s divisional leaders. We cannot avoid the voice of the leadership,” he said.

Pajudin quit the party for Umno on Saturday, citing loss of confidence in the party’s national leadership.

Yesterday, Wan Azizah announced the formation of the leadership council to lead the state’s Sabah chapter and to put in place a concerted effort to focus the state’s resources on setting up a fair agenda for Sabahans.

“The functions and responsibilities of the presidential council are mapped to the issues that are of major importance to the people of Sabah and are partly designed to match the state Cabinet, in order to provide the focus and early training for our state leaders to press [for] accountability [from] the present state government and develop the skills and acumen necessary to bring about change in the state,” she reportedly said.

Anwar also denied claims from Pajudin’s camp that the party’s national leadership had failed to stand by its own decision to appoint him as state chief, reiterating that it did not want to ignore the majority’s pleas.

“They said we failed to stand by our decision. We stood by it but we respect the voice of the majority,” he said.

When asked how long the leadership council would helm Sabah PKR, Anwar smiled and said the matter was up to the party president to decide.

“But it is temporary,” he confirmed.

The Malaysian Insider understands that many Sabah PKR leaders were disappointed with the national leadership for appointing Pajudin without first consulting them for their views.

Pajudin, a trained teacher, is seen as a proxy to PKR Tuaran’s chief Ansari Abdullah, who is a leader of one of the two leading factions in the fractious state chapter.

Ansari has been at loggerheads with another faction leader and former state PKR chief, Ahmad Thamrin Jaini, who was removed from the post upon Pajudin’s appointment.

A source recently told The Malaysian Insider that Pajudin’s appointment had not been based on consensus and it was initially suggested that he should have obtained the endorsement from the state’s 25 divisional leaders before he was given the post.